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I really like The Secret World. Certain elements of it are superb, easily the best by my standards in the crowded MMO market. The lush environments, the great stories, the horror elements and modern day setting really appeal to me. The dark humor is sharp as a razor.
But at time, TSW seems like work. I read and reread the active and passive skills I'm using, trying to figure out if any of the fourteen I have slotted are useless or if another of the what, over five hundred skills in the game, would be better? Do we really need 500 + skills? All this time reading about theory crafting... I just want to play a game, not study. But because the game is so merciless, you really do have to sink time into it. Some people enjoy this, but I'm not one of them.
The loot is rarely someting I truly enjoy getting, because for every plus to one stat(s) there is usually a minus or two involved as well. So now I have to look at my character stats, try and figure out if this will make my character stronger or weaker or have little effect. Again, time not spent playing the game. I truly enjoy it when I find an item that is all Pluses! Those moments are rare though.
I believe this learning curve is really the one element that stopped TSW from being a runaway success. Because it has so much going for it. It oozes charm and personality. It is like no other game on the market. Its strengths are numerous.
I wish they had a "dumb mode". An option for people like me who just want to play a game, not crunch numbers or look into optimum builds or what have you. I could pick something like "Fighter" and the next screen would say "OK, do you want to use guns, swords or magic?" And from there XP I earned would go into unlocking the best actives and passives. They would be automatically equipped for me.
This is not the game that many of TSW's fans want, I understand that. I am in no way looking down on people who do enjoy the statistics. I just wish it felt less like a chore at times.